The effect of crystallizing and non-crystallizing cosolutes on succinate buffer crystallization and the consequent pH shift in frozen solutions

Prakash Sundaramurthi, Raj Suryanarayanan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Purpose: To effectively inhibit succinate buffer crystallization and the consequent pH changes in frozen solutions. Methods: Using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and X-ray diffractometry (XRD), the crystallization behavior of succinate buffer in the presence of either (i) a crystallizing (glycine, mannitol, trehalose) or (ii) a non-crystallizing cosolute (sucrose) was evaluated. Aqueous succinate buffer solutions, 50 or 200 mM, at pH values 4.0 or 6.0 were cooled from room temperature to -25°C at 0.5°C/min. The pH of the solution was measured as a function of temperature using a probe designed to function at low temperatures. The final lyophiles prepared from these solutions were characterized using synchrotron radiation. Results: When the succinic acid solution buffered to pH 4.0, in the absence of a cosolute, was cooled, there was a pronounced shift in the freeze-concentrate pH. Glycine and mannitol, which have a tendency to crystallize in frozen solutions, remained amorphous when the initial pH was 6.0. Under this condition, they also inhibited buffer crystallization and prevented pH change. At pH 4.0 (50 mM initial concentration), glycine and mannitol crystallized and did not prevent pH change in frozen solutions. While sucrose, a non-crystallizing cosolute, did not completely prevent buffer crystallization, the extent of crystallization was reduced. Sucrose decomposition, based on XRD peaks attributable to β-D-glucose, was observed in frozen buffer solutions with an initial pH of 4.0. Trehalose completely inhibited crystallization of the buffer components when the initial pH was 6.0 but not at pH 4.0. At the lower pH, the crystallization of both trehalose dihydrate and buffer components was evident. Conclusion: When retained amorphous, sucrose and trehalose effectively inhibited succinate buffer component crystallization and the consequent pH shift. However, when trehalose crystallized or sucrose degraded to yield a crystalline decomposition product, crystallization of buffer was observed. Similarly, glycine and mannitol, two widely used bulking agents, inhibited buffer component crystallization only when retained amorphous. In addition to stabilizing the active pharmaceutical ingredient, lyoprotectants may prevent solution pH shift by inhibiting buffer crystallization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)374-385
Number of pages12
JournalPharmaceutical research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The XRD studies were carried out in the College of Science and Engineering Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, which receives partial support from NSF through the MRSEC program. The use of the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory through the Midwest Universities Collaborative Access Team (MUCAT sector) is gratefully acknowledged.


  • buffer crystallization
  • cosolute
  • frozen solution
  • pH shift


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of crystallizing and non-crystallizing cosolutes on succinate buffer crystallization and the consequent pH shift in frozen solutions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this